From International Socialism (1st series), No.25, Summer 1966, p.32.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
Britain and Africa
Chatto & Windus, 25s
This book in the series Britain in the World Today by the Rhodes Professor of Race Relations at Oxford seems a rather superficial appraisal of the relations which Britain has had with the continent of Africa. The author is hardly a Colin Legum, let alone an ardent anti-colonialist in any radical sense.
Well larded with seemingly pro-Empire attitudes, Kirkwood’s essay appears to justify, in the best schoolboy textbook style, the reasons for European interest in Africa. His position is that of a critically, very moderate, raconteur of imperial good deeds who implies an apparent dislike for the general rejection of ‘British institutions’ in some African countries (although on page 130 he perceives the motive behind the transformation of the constitution in Ghana since independence).
Very little is made of politico-economic reasons for shifts in colonial policy and differing colonial administrative practices – while perhaps too much explanation is based on the assumption of the simple paternalist aspirations of individual professional pro-African Lord Shaftesburys.
An interesting, if in parts boring book, which cannot be classified as any sort of definitive analysis.
Last updated on 24 April 2010